Kindness in marriage sometimes feels like a tug a war – if you’re kind to me, I’ll be kind to you. Sound familiar?
The not-so-big news regarding this stance is, no one wins.
We all know marriage is hard work. Do you remember the sting of a careless word when a kind word could have softened the bad news? Or the site of men leaving Costco with long stemmed roses and the skip in your heart is a reminder your Valentine will forget again.
The downside to the lack of kindness in a marriage adds up and it may seem you’ll never get back to the love you once knew. Conversations about the weather and what’s needed at the grocery store leave you feeling like roommates. Not only does living without kindness erode love in a marriage but it’s easy to lose sight of the role we play in it.
Would you like to feel noticed? Appreciated? Cared for?
Responding with kind words and actions can build trust. It can also symbolize your commitment to your spouse and your marriage. Trust and commitment are the foundation of a solid marriage where two people are emotionally connected and want what’s best for each other.
Perhaps kindness has always been second nature for you but over the years your effort wasn’t reciprocated. The kindness well has run dry and you feel like you have nothing left to give. It’s normal to struggle when feeling you are always the giver.
However, we can take simple steps towards kindness and be the change we would like to see in our relationships. Taking ownership allows us to become an active participant instead of letting things just happen.
Here are a few steps that can cultivate kindness in your marriage:
Kindness puts the other person’s needs first. Agree in your mind to be kind, your heart will follow.
Kindness makes the first move. Unlike the selfish tug-a-war, kindness doesn’t wait for someone else to go first but intentionally chooses moments to be kind.
Leave a note, send a text or do a chore that you wouldn’t normally do. Think about what would make your spouse’s heart smile and do that.
Kindness comforts. Kind words and actions assure your spouse you are on the same side, that no matter what problems you have you’re in this together.
Plan ahead for tense conversations, you know they’ll happen. Take a breath and respond with kindness.
Your actions or words of kindness may not be reciprocated. You may not notice anything different in the moment. Until one day, you catch your spouse being kind and the hard places in your life soften. And being kind becomes something you do without thinking. Life takes on a new perspective and you see a change in you.
If you are looking for a couples counselor in Vancouver, WA, consider working with one of our experienced marriage therapists.
Our marriage counselors effectively use Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) to increase a couple’s emotional connection. This effective therapy is based on 25 years of research. We’ve helped hundreds of couples at Integrity Counseling and would like to make a difference in your relationship.
Make a counseling appointment today and watch your love grow!